Chances/Suggestions for T20 Universities and Merit Aid

Match/Reach Schools: Swarthmore, University of Michigan (EA, merit deadline), Boston University (applying for Trustee’s), Vanderbilt (applying for Chancellor’s and CV), Harvard, Claremont McKenna (merit deadline), MIT (EA), UChicago (EA), USC (merit deadline), Bryn Mawr (merit deadline), RPI (EA), UPenn, Yale, Rice (merit deadline)

Basic demographics: White female from public school in the Midwest, no hooks besides being an underrepresented gender in my major

Major: Economics & Mathematics double major or joint degree program

SAT: 1600 superscore (2 sittings)

SAT II: 770 Bio-E

GPA: 4.0, 4.7

AP Coursework: APUSH (5), Lang (5), Macro (5), Calc BC (5), Micro (4), French (3), Literature, Bio, Comp Sci, Government

Dual Enrollment: Geopolitics (A), Money and Banking (A), Multivariable Calculus, Labor Sociology

Awards/Honors Societies:

International poetry contest finalist, national essay contest semi-finalist, local essay contest finalist, Rensselaer Medal, French National Honors Society, Cum Laude Society (basically means I have the highest possible GPA at my school)


-Regional Director of redacted youth political organization (10 hrs weekly)

Founded school chapter of [redacted organization name] with 20 members

Oversaw ~200 volunteers from across [my state]

Planned 15 phonebanks yielding 15.2k calls to WI, VA, and OH

-Treasurer in Science Olympiad (9-12) (4 hrs weekly)

Bookkeeping & planned 2 fundraisers with profits of $350-$450 each.

Specialized in enviro/bio sciences.

Voted MVP, 12 medals total, & state qualification in 11th.

-Competitor on Math Team (9-12) (1 hr weekly)

T5/50 scorer at Conference meet

Competed at 15 local/regional events.

State attendance in 9th & 10th.

  • Co-President of Junior States of America (11-12) (1 hr weekly)

Planned school-wide climate policy forum & expert Q&A session

Oversaw fundraisers to waive fees for disadvantaged members.

Tripled club membership to 21 students

-[Redacted T.V Show name] Roleplay Game (Volunteer) (10-12) (12 hrs, biannual)

Prepared challenges & voting for “[Redacted T.V, show name] ” RP games with ~25 participants each.

Adapted future challenges to social distance guidelines.

-Redacted Program Name (3 weeks x 2)

Participated in community service oriented backpacking trips on Appalachian Trail.

Applied/accepted as counselor for residential program (11th), program cancelled.

-Great Jewish Books Program (11th summer, 6 weeks) (5 hrs weekly)

Applied/accepted for donor-funded program @ Yiddish Books Center

Read and discussed 20th cent. Jewish literature.

-Internship with [Redacted My State] Democratic Party (11th summer, 8 weeks) (10 hrs weekly)

Used DNC Votebuilder to prep for Candidate Boot Camp.

Tracked donations & liquid cash using Sunrise movement.

-Co-founder of Program Name (3 hrs weekly)

Founded student-senior citizen pen pal program with 110 participants

Managed outreach to students & administrators

Partnered with 3 local senior orgs

@neeple , here are a few threads that asked the question of which Elite universities provide Merit Aid. There are many more similar threads like this, but these should give you a good idea of what to expect when seeking Merit Aid from elite universities.

Merit Scholarships for ACT 36, top 5% of class: (10 responses to date)

Looking for advice in Merit aid for a top 1% student: (1600+ responses to date)

Merit Scholarships for 33 ACT and top 10 percent class rank (2016 thread, you will need to verify these recommended offers): (21 responses)

Merit Aid College Search Help: (15 replies)

Merit Scholarship From Top Colleges: (25 responses)

The last one asks the following question, which I think is what you want to know specifically: “What are the real odds of getting a substantial merit scholarship from a top college like Ivies or other elites in similar tier? Is it possible to get at least 50% or more of tuition free from such colleges if you don’t qualify for aid or athletics?”

PS: Some of the threads I referenced include information for NMSF students.

Forgot to mention in awards, I’m also a National Merit Semi-Finalist

NMSF means nothing for merit. NMF can get you merit aid at many schools.

The Ivies give no merit aid, period. They do not give athletic scholarships either. You would get need based aid or be full pay.

If you’ve a NMF, USC automatically provides half-tuition and the University of Florida (all Florida state schools) offer automatic full-rides, though at UF this is dependent on the state legislature’s funding.

Most T20s do not offer merit scholarships, if they do, it’s extremely, extremely competitive and used to attract HYPSM-tier admits. Apply widely (safeties, matches, and reaches) and hope for the best.

Just a note of caution that your listing reads like a resume but you’re hoping to get admitted to a college community. Holistic is not all about who’s got fancy icing, better at this or that, raised more $$ or whatever metrics. It needs to see the human side, as well. Not just one’s role, but some of the soul in the appplicant. And try to distinguish between volunteer work and a truer form of community service where one does more hands-on for local needy.